Arctic parliamentarians call to focus on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Arctic parliamentarians from Canada, Denmark, Greenland/Faroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden gathered last week in Inari, Finland for a three-day conference where they issued a statement calling Arctic nations share data and best practices in the field of mental health, including fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, “focusing on prevalence, prevention, and justice.”

A conference on FASD, such as that called for in the Arctic parliamentarians’ statement, would see a wide range of experts, from the regional, national and international levels, coming together, said Yukon MP Larry Bagnell to Nunatsiaq News. These health experts aren’t usually involved in Arctic meetings, Bagnell said.

In addition to a conference on FASD, the statement calls for a study of the causes and prevalence of suicide in the Arctic region, especially among youth, and “to support the continuation of circumpolar cooperation on suicide prevention.”

The Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region is a biennial conference for parliamentarians representing the eight Arctic countries and the European Parliament. The first Parliamentary Conference concerning Arctic cooperation was held in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1993.

The Arctic parliamentarians plan to meet next in Norway in 2020.

Find more about the Inari conference from Nunatsiaq News